The Multipurpose Applications by Thermodynamic Solar (MATS) plant in Borg El Arab, Egypt has been inaugurated. A research and development initiative aimed at advancing solar energy technology in Egypt and the Middle East, the project was led by a consortium of 11 partners from Italy, France, Egypt, Germany, and the UK, Orascom Construction said in a statement. According to the company, it participated in the funding and the construction of the project. The European Union reportedly co-financed the initiative. The MAT plant comprises an integrated concentrated solar power (CSP) and water desalination facility that can serve a community of 1,000 people in a desert area, Orascom added. Describing the plant as “experimental”, Orascom said that the project will serve as a “launching pad for scaling [the] technology and developing the project into a full-fledged research and development centre for renewable energy”.

The MATS plant is not Orascom’s only renewable energy project in Egypt. The company constructed and installed the country’s first CSP parabolic trough solar field in Kuraymat, Egypt from 2008 to 2010. It is also currently developing a 250MW wind farm on a build-own-operate basis, the first project of its type and size in Egypt